Media Statement

Update on the situation affecting SA Citizens in Lagos

Ladies and Gentlemen of the media; fellow South Africans, Good evening,

The Inter-Ministerial Task Team established to coordinate government’s response to the collapse of a building at the Synagogue Church of All Nations in Nigeria, where South African citizens lost their lives and others sustained injuries would like to announce the evacuation of 26 injured South African citizens from Lagos back home to South Africa. Of the 26 patients, 3 are children.

A Mass Casualty Aero-Medical Evacuation Team with specialised equipment from the South African Military Health Service touched down in Lagos at 14h00 this afternoon. The team, under the leadership of Lt Col Fanus Martin, with the capacity to evacuate, existing patients, is equipped to treat critically injured patients and provide care during the 10-hour flight back to South Africa. Amongst the medical team members is one orthopaedic Surgeon, Colonel (Prof) Theo Le Roux, an internationally recognised trauma surgeon; 4 Aero-Medical Officers that have specialised in aviation medicine; 6 Nursing Officers specialised in aviation nursing; and as 8 military paramedics.

Extra measures were taken to provide care and comfort to injured children on board. A donated Teddy Bear Pack, with toys, will be handed to each child when they board the aircraft.

The aircraft is expected to land at the Swartkop Air Force Base at 07h00 on Monday, 22 September.  Ambulances from the Gauteng Emergency Services will be waiting at the Air Force Base to transport the patients directly to the Steve Biko Hospital where a special plan has been made to receive them.  There will be an area reserved for media to capture the arrival of the aircraft as well as the offloading of patients at the Swartkop base.  We appeal to the media to protect the privacy of the patients.

Families of the patients have been notified by the Department of Social Development and logistical arrangements are being made to enable them to visit their loved ones at Steve Biko Hospital.

All patients will be admitted to the Steve Biko Hospital where they will be assessed prior to being transferred to the hospital of their choice or discharged according to their condition.

Families of members of patients are requested to start arriving at Steve Biko Hospital from Midday where social workers will be on hand to receive them.

We once more request families of South Africans who are not yet unaccounted for to contact our information line: 012 351 1000

The South African Assessment team in Lagos continues with the work of finalising the process of repatriation of deceased South African citizens. Specific details about the repatriation of the deceased South Africans will be provided as soon as the identification process is completed.

The Inter-Ministerial Task Team would like to thank South Africans for their continued support to the affected families during this difficult time.

Enquiries: Phumla Williams 0835010139

Issued by Government Communication (GCIS) on behalf of the Inter- Ministerial Task Team on the Nigeria tragedy

21 September 2014




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